For the Arizona Cardinals, two of the bigger (pun intended) contract situations to be resolved in the 2012 NFL offseason will be with LT Levi Brown and DE/DT Calais Campbell. Both guys are in very different situations with Brown coming off a huge rookie deal that he under-performed. Campbell, on the other hand, was a steal for the last four years, making just $3.4 million over that period. He's played his way into a much bigger pay day.
Levi Brown is owed $8.3 million for next season but that money is not guaranteed and will almost certainly not be paid based on his performance since signing a huge contract as the fifth-overall pick from the 2007 NFL Draft. It remains to be seen if the Cardinals can renegotiate a smaller deal with Brown that's more commiserate with his play.
According to Whisenhunt, however, Brown did play well in the later half of the season. "We're always going to look for opportunities to make our team better and hopefully, Levi will be a part of that," Whiz said.
There aren't a lot of left tackles available and the Cardinals don't seem to have a young player ready to step in. They are expected many to use their first-round pick (13th overall) on an offensive lineman but it's far too soon to say if that will happen.
Calais Campbell is a free agent in 2012 having completed his rookie contract signed after being drafted in the second-round of the 2008 NFL Draft. There's no questioning Campbell's value and importance to the improved Arizona defense. The 6-8 lineman can play both defensive end and tackle and led the team with eight sacks and recorded another three field goal blocks this season.
Whisenhunt agreed that Campbell is a focus for the team, "He had a great year for us and we're looking forward to having many more years with Calais to come."
The contract discussions have reportedly been going on for some time, however, and as of Sunday Campbell was uncertain where things stood.
"I'm not sure how close we are. I feel like we're communicating, trying to get something worked out," Campbell said. "I feel like we'll figure something out though. This is a great organization and I love being a Cardinal so, can't beat that."
That's certainly encouraging to hear that both sides are motivated and interested in reaching the same conclusion. In the event that a deal can't be reached, the Cardinals would almost certainly put the franchise tag on Campbell to prevent him hitting the open market.